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Italy attracts expats looking to work in international media, tourism or professional services.
Italy also attracts bankers to Milan, as one of the world’s largest financial centres. It is the seat of the Italian stock exchange, and many international banks have a presence in Milan.
People working in the fashion industry are also attracted to the city of Milan, as the world’s leading exporter of textiles and garments. Fashion labels such as Gucci, Prada, Valentino, and Versace have their headquarters there.
There are several different categories of working visa for Italy, some of which are described below.
In Italy, the number of foreign workers to be admitted is determined using a Quota System. The Entry Quotas are established by the Government and are determined by the needs of the labour market.
Quotas are published once or twice a year providing categories of positions and nationalities that are eligible to apply for work authorization. Approval is only possible for those that fit the quota categories and meet the other criteria during the period of time when quota slots are still available.
Certain categories such as internal company transferees are exempt from the Quota System and as such are the most common application categories. The quota concession, for example, applies to foreign workers employed by a foreign company who are assigned to work in Italy for a parent company for a period of time.
The two main non-quota categories are:
Non-Quota ICT Work Permit – for employees assigned to Italy for a maximum of five years (after which a permit as a local hire should be obtained, if the foreign national is still needed in Italy) and who meet certain criteria. This category may be used for both intra-company transfers and transfers between companies that have a joint venture agreement. Work permits obtained via this process are exempt from the quota system.
Blue Card (Carta Blu) – implemented in Italy in September 201. An EU wide (with some exceptions) immigration process for highly skilled employees with a degree with a minimum duration of 3 years, a concrete job offer in Italy and who meet set specific salary thresholds.
The applicant’s profession must also meet Level 1 – 3 of the ISTAT Ranking of Professions (which apply to highly qualified professionals such as Executives, Managers, Engineers, Architects, Chemists etc.) and must be recognised in Italy. Note that certain professions (law, medicine, etc.), are regulated and foreign workers must meet the requirements specified by Italian law before applying for a Blue Card.
Note that Italy does not recognise the Van der Elst ruling of the EU court
The Italian work permit scheme is administered regionally, so implementation differs significantly depending on the exact destination within Italy.
Note that before a work permit application can be submitted, the expat’s Italian employer must first apply for clearance (nulla osta al lavoro) at the one-stop immigration centre (Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione) in their region.
Once the work permit is approved, the assignee must apply for an entry visa at the Italian diplomatic post overseas to enter Italy. In the assignee must formally sign the work contract at the local immigration office before being allowed to start work. The subsequent residence permit application and town hall registration takes a further few months.
While the assignee will be required to submit certain documents for the work permit, the employer takes responsibility for most of the application.
As applications are submitted to the regional authorities, requirements will vary significantly according to the region in Italy, the type of work permit being applied for, the country of application and the nationality of the applicant and any dependant.
Documentation requirements and processing times for both visa and work permit applications can change frequently and without notice. Furthermore, the authorities retain the right to request additional documentation as deemed necessary.
Applicants will be required to submit a variety of personal and corporate documents to support the application which include, but are not limited to: Copy of all passport pages, CV showing 5 years’ relevant professional experience, degree certificate, legalised and translated birth and marriage certificates, chamber of commerce certificate, ID of Italian company legal representative named on the application, “Anti-mafia” Italian Chamber of Commerce Certificate, documents proving relationship between sending entity and Italian entity, Italian Tax Report or Italian Annual Report, proof of Recent Uniemens payments, proof of employee housing in Italy, job description, assignment agreement, employment contract, declaration of secondment, certificate of incorporation and ID copy of the signatory of the declaration of secondment.
A number of personal and company documents will also need to be legalised and translated prior to submission. Newland Chase can assist with this.
The Italian work permit scheme is administered regionally. Processing times vary between regions, the minimum processing time being around two months.
Non-Quota ICT Work Permit – Typically takes 2 to 6 months until entry to Italy, and a further 2 to 3 months before the whole process is completed
Blue Card (Carta Blu) – Typically takes to 5 months until entry to Italy, and a further 2 to 3 months before the whole process is completed
The ICT Work Permit is initially granted for up to 2 years and is renewable
The Blue Card is valid for up to two years based on an indefinite employment contract or the duration of the contract plus three months, whichever is shorter and is renewable
Nationals from specified countries can enter Italy without a visa for tourism and business purposes, for short trips and restricted activities. Check with Newland Chase before you travel to find out whether you need a work permit to undertake proposed activities.
It is strictly prohibited to carry out any work related activity on a Schengen visa or under the visa-waver agreement for non-EU nationals. Therefore, while there is nothing to stop you from looking for jobs, you would not be able to commence any form of employment until you have acquired the appropriate work authorisation and would have to return to your country of residence to initiate the work permit application process.
Generally, after living in Italy legally for five continuous years, you can apply for an EC residence permit for long-term residents.
Note that applicants are also required to meet certain criteria such as proof that your annual income is higher than the social allowance (assegno sociale) and sufficient to maintain yourself and all the members of your family.
Note that all foreign nationals applying for residence permits with validity of one year or more must sign an “integration agreement” (accordo di integrazione) which is part of a new points based system for residence permits, whereby foreign nationals are awarded credits for efforts made to integrate into Italian society. Credits can also be removed for misdemeanours or failure to attend compulsory training sessions on Italian life. Foreign nationals must achieve at least 30 credits within three years in order to be permitted to stay in Italy.
The Blue Card will lead to permanent residency – EC long-term resident status – after five years, provided the Blue Card holder has spent the two years immediately prior to the application continuously residing in one EU member state (the permanent residency application should be submitted in that country).
The Italian work permit process is regional and complex, and requirements and procedures not only differ significantly depending on the exact destination of assignment within Italy but also change on a frequent basis, so please consult with your Newland Chase Immigration Advisor for current and detailed information.
It can also be a lengthy process. Therefore, you would be advised to start the visa application process well in advance of the desired date of relocation.